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Nasa team find ‘new way’ to spot osteoporosis

by admin | 29th May 2012

Nasa team find ‘new way’ to spot osteoporosis

Nasa scientists believe they have found a way to spot osteoporosis bone loss at the earliest disease stages.

Currently, the condition can go undetected for years and may only be diagnosed with scans after weakening of the bones has led to a fracture.

The new test – designed partly with astronauts in mind as they too can suffer bone loss due to the microgravity of space – looks for traces of bone calcium in the urine.

The work is published in PNAS journal.

The technique developed by scientists at Arizona State University working with the US space agency analyses calcium isotopes – different atoms of the element calcium, derived from bone and each with their own specific number of neutrons.

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This could therefore have a future role in the clinical evaluation of patients”

Dr Nicola Peel National Osteoporosis Society

The balance or abundance of these different isotopes changes when bone is destroyed and formed and can therefore indicate early changes in bone density.

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By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online

Page last updated: May 29th, 2012 at 2:40 am